West Africa Art Market Size

The artistic landscape of West Africa is as dynamic as it is uneven. In Nigeria, the art market is burgeoning, so much so that the commercial capital, Lagos, has the highest density of galleries per square meter on the continent after South Africa.
Commercial art galleries play a significant role in diffusing contemporary African art around the world. They often are hybrid structures, such as art centers that sell artworks or galleries associated with publishing ventures. For example, Art Twenty One is a contemporary art space founded in 2013 by Nigerian art consultant Caline Chagoury in Lagos. It aims to strengthen the growing Nigerian art scene by positioning it on the international art scene and participated in the FNB Joburg Art Fair and the new 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London in 2014. Another example in Nigeria is Omenka, a leading art gallery run by Oliver Enwonwu in Lagos. With a particular focus on Nigerian and African art, it participates in major art fairs, including Art Dubai, FNB Joburg Art Fair, Cape Town Art Fair, Docks Art Fair in Lyon, LOOP in Barcelona and 1:54 in London. It also publishes a celebrated quarterly print and digital magazine that aims to position Africa on the international visual culture scene. In Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, veteran art dealer Simone Guirandou-N’Diaye has run the Galerie Guirandou Arts Pluriels since 1981.
In 2012, the Cécile Fakhoury Gallery opened and stimulated a revival of the art market following Ivory Coast’s recent political and military conflicts. In Mali, Chab Touré who used to exhibit African and international photography at Gallery Chab in Bamako, opened Maison Carpe Diem (a gallery, cafe and bookshop) in Ségou in 2010. It represents African painters, sculptors and photographers and participates in art fairs, including 1:54 in London and Art Dubai.

Lagos has the highest density of galleries per square meter on the continent after South Africa.

Private foundations can be found in Benin, Ghana and Ivory Coast. Created in 2005 by the Beninese art collector Marie-Cécile Zinsou, the Fondation Zinsou plays an important role in promoting and exhibiting African contemporary art in Benin. Since its inception in Cotonou in 2005, it has been organizing exhibitions with a view to educating people about art, especially the younger generations. In 2013, the foundation inaugurated a museum of contemporary African art, the Musée Zinsou, in Ouidah, where it exhibits artworks by major African artists from the Zinsou collection.
In Ghana, the Nubuke Foundation in Accra was founded by Nubuke Investments managing partner and art collector Tutu Agyare and Ghanaian artist Kofi Setordji in 2006. It collaborates with local and international institutions including the University of Ghana and KNUST (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology) to nurture young Ghanaian artists and promote Ghanaian art, culture and heritage through exhibitions, workshops, residences, a library, poetry and drama. Businessman and art collector Seth Dei opened the Dei Centre in Accra to house his collection, which is curated by the New York University’s Africa House.
In Ivory Coast, the Fondation Donwahi hosts international exhibitions curated by its artistic director Simon Njami. It was founded in 2008 in Abidjan by Illa Donwahi in honor of her father, late businessman, politician and humanist Charles Bauza Donwahi.
Art centers and large-scale art events are crucial for the art scene across the region for building audiences for modern and contemporary art in Africa. Two such art centers are the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos, Nigeria, founded in 2007 by contemporary art curator Bisi Silva, and the Raw Material Company, founded in 2011 by artistic director Koyo Kouoh in Dakar, Senegal, which has an exhibition space and an archive center on contemporary art.
Major large-scale art events include LagosPhoto, the first international arts festival in Nigeria that was launched in 2010 – since its inception, its art art director is Azu Nwagbogu and its main sponsor is Etisalat (Emirates Telecommunications Corporation). Lagos Photo was selected by Art Basel and Kickstarter’s crowdfunding initiative in order to help it expand into a year-round program of exhibitions and workshops in 2015. In Bamako, Mali, the increasingly successful Bamako Encounters is a biennale of African Photography that has been taking place since 1994, thanks to the financial support of Mali’s Ministry of Culture, the French Institute (spearheaded by France’s foreign and culture ministries) and the European Union.
Bisi Silva has been appointed artistic director of the 10th edition of the Bamako Encounters in 2015. The Dakar Biennale, or Dak’Art, was launched by the Senegalese government in 1990 and has focused on contemporary African art since 1996. It is a stepping stone for African artists and a key player in the development of the contemporary art scene in Africa.

A plethora of ventures originate from artists themselves.

A plethora of ventures originate from artists themselves. Among these are the Nike Center for Art and Culture founded by textile artist Nike Davies-Okundaye in four Nigerian cities (Lagos, Osun, Kogi and Abuja) in 1983; Espace Tchif launched by artist Francis Tchiakpe in Cotonou, Benin; the Musée de l’Art de la Vie Active initiated by Meschac Gaba in Cotonou, Benin; Unik-Lieu de Création Contemporaine in Abomey, Benin; and Artistik created by Kossi Assou in Lomé, Togo.

Bénin

Focus/Interview

Fondation Zinsou
Cotonou, Benin

Fondation Zinsou is a private foundation launched in 2005 by Marie-Cécile Zinsou, with her father, French-Beninese financier Lionel Zinsou, as the main sponsor. Mr Zinsou is the chairman and CEO of private equity firm PAI Partners, based in Paris. His daughter, who grew up in France and the UK, is the instigator and director of the foundation.
They founded an art centre in Cotonou, the largest city in Benin, and developed an artistic, cultural and pedagogical program. The foundation’s annual budget ranges from € 800,000 – 1 million (US$ 1.1 – 1.4 million) and is funded by private and corporate sponsors.
It has a staff of about 60 people. Entrance is free, and the targeted audience is school children from 9 to 15 years, followed by their parents. Since 2005, 4.8 million people have visited the foundation, 80% of which are under 20 years old.
The Fondation Zinsou’s annual budget ranges from US$ 1.1 to 1.4 million and is funded by private and corporate sponsors. (…) Since 2005, 4.8 million people have visited the foundation, 80% of which are under 20 years old.

The foundation, an important hub for the modern and contemporary art scene in Benin, is engaged in various types of projects. In 2004, the Zinsou family acquired a throne that had once belonged to King Béhanzin of Abomey (18th century) at a Sotheby’s sale in Paris, a very unique piece for the history of the country that had been on foreign soil since 1894. In 2007, the foundation exhibited a group of Basquiat canvases in Cotonou and also co-produced an exhibition on the Abomey kingdom at Musée du Quai Branly in Paris as well as in Cotonou. It has also provided an unparalleled opportunity for local artists, including Tchif, Romuald Hazoumé, Zinkpè and Aston, to have their work presented.

In November 2013, the Fondation Zinsou opened the first museum of contemporary African art in Ouidah, 42 km from Cotonou.
In November 2013, the Fondation Zinsou opened the first museum of contemporary African art in the city of Ouidah, 42 km from Cotonou. Musée Zinsou, which occupies a historic Afro-Brazilian building, La Villa Avajon (built in 1922), is open six days a week, free admission. Like the Cotonou art venue, the museum is entirely private and aims to introduce the Beninese to contemporary art. It is popular among school teachers, who can bring their classes thanks to a specially organised “cultural bus”. Its exhibitions are drawn from the foundation’s art collection, which consists of about 1000 artworks. The inaugural show featured artworks by 14 artists from 9 African countries, representing 10% of the collection.

Interview

Marie-Cécile Zinsou,
founder, Fondation Zinsou

“Both my father and I buy artworks, from artists, auction houses, and galleries. I select the acquisitions depending on the exhibition program – we buy artworks that have already been exhibited and others that make sense from an historical and pedagogical point of view for our audience. The collection is designed for the public, as opposed to a personal collection. We don’t impose any geographical restrictions: artists come from Ethiopia, Senegal, South Africa, etc. Some are foreigners based in Africa. They range from the most established to the most emerging artists.
We will continue to acquire artworks but we also want to start archiving the present. There is not enough writing material about artists in Africa today. We want to document the contemporary art scene now, because it will be crucial to have such an archive 30 years from now. The program is called ‘Les Archives du Présent’ (Archives of the Present).
“New projects don’t stem from the nation states, they come from the civilians, which is very specific to the African continent.”
Marie-Cécile Zinsou
We have been witnessing an explosion of new initiatives on the African art scene since 2005. New projects don’t stem from the nation states, they come from the civilians, which is very specific to the African continent. The old model of the colonial museum is obsolete and the younger generations come up with new ideas, whatever the financial means available. Initiatives like the Appartement 22 in Rabat, Morocco, don’t have a huge budget, but they are very dense intellectually speaking.”

Ghana

Overview

by Nii Andrews

Migrations, intermingling and hybridization provide a useful perspective from which to consider the contemporary art of Ghana. The art reveals a giddy complex of influences, almost always produced by artists who as individuals are cultural composites – no pejorative intent here, but an honest attempt to describe an authentic concrete reality. Judging from their work, these contemporary Ghanaian artists have formed a secure and uncompromising sense of identity. They are happy to showcase blends of Ghanaian, African and other world influences as they engage the world as it actually exists and as they attempt to envisage and posit themselves into the future.
The old categorizations, tropes and boxes are certainly outdated and hopelessly limited; we need to migrate away from them. The best spectacles to wear is one of interconnectedness of a world tradition which for now and the foreseeable future appears inextricably linked. That is surely the most useful perspective from which to gaze purposefully on the works in oil, acrylic, collages, multimedia, sculpture, textiles, photographs, video and whatever else that constitutes contemporary art in Ghana. Ghanaian society is a vibrant polyglot resulting from migrations; a steaming cauldron of peppery influences and inflections – some great, some not so great, as it is with contemporary art.
Some of the leading artists include Prof. Ablade Glover, the master of the palette knife who creates order within disorder; George Hughes, a mixed media impresario with a poignant viewpoint; Max Boadi, a promising artist who works with great sensitivity in oil and charcoal, Marigold Akufo-Addo, a consistently provocative interpreter on canvas of Africa’s myths and legends, and Fredrick Oko Matey, a sculptor who is not intimidated by Africa’s formidable sculptural tradition.
The impressive gallery venues where contemporary art can be seen include the flagship Artists Alliance Gallery, The Loom African Art Gallery, The Dei Center and the Nubuke Foundation. Two important private contemporary art collections are those of the industrialist Seth Dei and the consummate stylist, Damali Kelly. We can only continue to hope that soon there will be a public institution that will record, collect and showcase this patrimony.

Focus

Dei Center

Seth Dei, a co-founder of Blue Skies Holdings, is one of Ghana’s most successful investors with stakes in multiple businesses in the areas of leasing, insurance, pharmaceutical manufacturing, fruit processing and marketing. Blue Skies is a worldleading, freshly-cut fruit business generating over $100 million in annual turnover and contributing 1% of Ghana’s total exports. Mr Dei is known to own the largest private collection of Ghanaian painting in the country, comprising 350 to 400 artworks. He founded the Seth and Carleene Dei Foundation in partnership with New York University’s Africa House, which curates the art collection at the Dei Center.

Senegal

Overview

by Malick Ndiaye

Dakar, the Senegalese capital, is home to several cultural institutions which may be presented in three categories according to their date of creation. Although the selected examples are far from exhaustive and do not indicate the homogeneity of these establishments, this presentation should provide for a clearer understanding of Dakar’s art scene.
The first category regards public institutions created in the 1960s1970s. They form an historical heritage that has long provided a backbone for cultural action. These public institutions include: Ecole Nationale des Arts du Sénégal, Théâtre National Daniel Sorano, Musée Dynamique, Fondation Léopold Sédar Senghor and the Centre Culturel Blaise Senghor. Besides these heterogeneous structures, there’s also the Musée Théodore Monod d’Art Africain (1961), managed by the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire and an establish ment belonging to the Université Cheikh Anta Diop.
The second group dates from the 1980s-1990s and paved the way for the new dynamic of the 21st century. At this point, it is necessary to distinguish two types of infrastructures. On the one hand, there are the public structures such as the Galerie Nationale d’Art, DakArt – the Biennale de Dakar, the Maison de la Culture Douta Seck, and the Village des Arts. Second, there are private establishments such as the Atelier Céramiques Almadies, the Museum Boribana and the following art galleries: Arte, Kemboury and Atiss.
The third category, which redefined the cultural scene, came to life in the 2000s. It accounts mostly for art centres, creation and research: Kër Thiossane, Espace Timtimol, Résidences Vives Voix, Recherche et de Création, Raw Material Company and ArtHouse. This category has three distinctive features. First, it regards self-funded structures with precarious financing. Sponsoring and patronage initiatives are not encouraged by legal measures (a long-awaited law in favour of patronage is still under discussion at the Ministry of Culture). A few firms do sponsor culture in Senegal, namely Eiffage Sénégal, Fondation Sonatel and Fondation Sococim, which supports the Musée Théodore Monod d’Art Africain. Second, these structures retain a characteristically cosmopolitan form. They are rich of the various origins of its actors. Lastly, they are efficient in their networking approach, which increases their visibility. This is observed in their collaborations with sub-regional and international institutions, or via participations in satellite fairs during the Dakar Biennale.
These art centers opened in the last decade and all have heterogeneous programs. They are polyvalent, alternative spaces (including artist residencies, exhibition spaces, spaces for creation, research and publishing, development of knowledge, debates and the diffusion of art) and are involved in multidisciplinary fields (visual arts, theatre, design, cinema, fashion, multimedia). In relation to the extent of ideas from the Senegalese intellectual class, these platforms lead to break out by playing a part in the creation of knowledge, as well as in its spread. Their cultural activities are connected to contemporary thoughts, subversive practices and progressive ways of interpretations. These spaces are new independent actors, on the fringe of the establishment, and have been active participants in the global process defining new borders of artistic geopolitics since the late 1980s.

Interview

Sylvain Sankalé
collector, Senegal

He is currently a foreign trade advisor to France and an economic diplomacy advisor to the Kingdom of Belgium, based in Dakar. Sylvain Sankalé has a doctorate in History of Law, Economics and Sociology.
“I was born in Senegal, to a Senegalese father with origins from Mali, France and England, and a West Indian mother, whose family roots can be traced to Martinique, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Lucia and Scotland. Several of their friends were artists, in particular Iba N’Diaye. I learnt very early that it was better to own a small but original artwork by an unknown artist than the copy of a large one by a famous artist! My father gave me my first artwork, in red chalk, when I was 11. I still have it. When I was 20, my childhood friend, the journalist Marie-Jeanne Serbin-Thomas, came from Paris to research her PhD dissertation about Senegalese painting in Dakar. I visited artists’ studios with her and started to appreciate their work. I curated my first exhibition of Senegalese contemporary art at the age of 21.
My art collection has always grown in two directions – traditional art and contemporary art. Both are equally important to me. The 500 artworks that constitute my collection so far come mainly from Senegal, with a few from West Africa, depending on chance encounters, opportunities and possibilities.
For me, it is almost compulsory to meet the artists whose works I collect. I think that I have met every artist whose work is in my collection. Sometimes, I have bought an artwork before knowing the artist, but the encounter has always followed.
“In the future, I would like to create a foundation with other collectors. We are already talking about it.”
Sylvain Sankalé
Although I don’t have a systematic policy of making my collection available to the general public, I often loan artworks to exhibitions and I am always pleased to invite people to see my collection. In the future, I would like to create a foundation with other collectors. We are already talking about it.”

Interview

Bassam Chaitou
collector, Senegal

Born in Dakar, Senegal, Bassam Chaitou divides his time between West Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He studied in France, where he began his career in consulting and finance, then returned to Africa at the age of 31 to become an entrepreneur. He recently created his own strategic consulting company.
“I am fascinated by the universalism of human values and the coming together of civilizations through the arts and economic development, entrepreneurship and leadership. Based in West Africa, I travel extensively across the three continents of Europe, Africa, and Asia.
I started collecting 15 years ago in 1999. The oldest artworks in my collection date from 1960. Everything began after I’d just got back to Africa. I came across an article in the daily newspaper Le Soleil titled ‘Chérif Thiam, a painter from the Dakar School : The Keen Eye’, by Joanna Grabski, who was then an American PhD student from Illinois preparing her dissertation about the Poto Poto School in Congo and the Dakar School. Intrigued, I decided to visit the first exhibition of the West African Research Center and discovered the work of major Senegalese artists and a whole artistic movement funded in the 1960s by Pierre Lods. This is when I acquired my first artwork, Le baobab by Gouye Biram Coumba, an oil painting representing African myths and beliefs that are essential to Léopold Sédar Senghor and Aimé Césaire’s ideas about Negritude. This painting is still part of my collection. And it was the first stone on which I built my entire collection. It was also the start of my friendship with Joanna Grabski, who has become one of the best specialists of African contemporary art.
My collection focuses on one country only: Senegal. It comprises 325 artworks by about 50 artists. Although my initial intention was to open up the selection to artists from other African countries, I quickly took on the mission to reconstitute the rich cultural history of Senegal. The collection stands at the crossroads of art, history and sociology. I deliberately opted for a vertical reading of art history in one country rather than a horizontal reading that encompasses various countries. Beyond the mere aesthetic component, the collection aims at providing an historical, critical, documented understanding of the major artistic trajectories in Senegal from the 1960s until now.

The collection is becoming more and more selective in order to retain only major pieces. It includes well-known names – Iba Ndiaye, Soly Cissé, Ousmane Sow, Seyni Awa Camara, Mor Faye, Viyé Diba, Moustapha Dimé, Ndouts, Fodé Camara –but also lesser known artists, for example the sculptor Djibril André Diop, who will become a safe bet on the market.

The total value of the collection is higher than the juxtaposition of the individual values of the artworks because of the collective and historical component, which is difficult to evaluate. The collection includes major artworks as Tabaski – La Ronde à Qui le Tour? (1970) by Iba Ndiaye, which is regarded as one of the most important African modern art pieces and has been exhibited worldwide for decades.
It also includes rare but less publicized artworks, for example an Indian ink drawing from the 1960s by Ibou Diouf (whose work was shown at the Festival des Arts Nègres in 1966) and about 50 drawings by Alpha Walid Diallo (a Senegalese artist from the Dakar School’s first generation) that represent scenes from historical battles and the great warriors of pre-colonial West Africa. This series of drawings actually documents three centuries of national history.
I keep on acquiring new artworks. Nowadays, I am looking into Senegalese photography in order to balance the techniques that are represented in the collection.
When in Europe, I always visited museums such as the Musée d’Orsay, Musée Marmottan, Centre Pompidou, Tate Modern and Guggenheim Bilbao, and the galleries of the Rue de Seine in Paris. My taste was eclectic, extending from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism. I was also interested in the exhibitions of traditional African art at Musée Dapper in Paris.
“Artworks from my collection have been shown in exhibitions including ‘Senegalese Art of Today’ at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1974, ‘Short Century’ curated by Okwui Enwezor at MoMA PS1 in New York in 2001, and (…) ‘Africa Remix’ from 2004-2007.’’
Bassam Chaitou
In 2007, a selection of 130 artworks from my collection was shown at the IFAN Museum of African Arts in Dakar. The exhibition was accompanied by a 200-page catalogue, ‘Trajectories – 40 years of Senegalese contemporary art’, which is available in universities and museum libraries worldwide. Artworks from my collection have been shown in exhibitions including ‘Senegalese Art of Today’ at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1974, ‘Short Century – Independence and Liberation Movements in Africa’ curated by Okwui Enwezor at MoMA PS1 in New York in 2001, and the traveling exhibition ‘Africa Remix’ from 2004-2007. Another exhibition aiming to present the development of the collection since 2007 is being planned.
I try to act as a pioneer or a researcher. I don’t haunt the galleries and the art fairs because I am looking for things that have not been shown there yet. I like to discover artists before anyone else. So I always meet the artists at their studios or homes. However, I never influence the artist by commissioning pieces.”

Nigeria

Focus

Auction houses in Nigeria

Since the Nimbus Art Center organized the first contemporary art auction in Nigeria in 1999, which fetched 22 millions Nairas (US$ 230’000), the local market for contemporary Nigerian art has been burgeoning.
In 2013, the Nigerian secondary art market was worth 250 million Nairas (about US$ 1.5 million). ArtHouse Contemporary Limited has been organizing two auctions per year, in May and November, since 2008 and TKMG auction house, resulting from the merger of Terra Kulture and Mydrim, also organizes a yearly auction sale, now in its seventh edition.
ArtHouse Contemporary Limited was founded in 2007 by Kavita Chellaram, whose goal was to provide a greater transparency of pricing and a wider exposure to the Nigerian and West African art market. Sales have been strong and steady since the inception. The debut auction in 2008 produced a record sale of 9.2 million Nairas (US$ 77’100) for Bruce Onobrakpeya. More recently, the November 2014 auction made a total sale of US$ 600’000 (including premium). 81 out of 115 lots were sold (70%). It featured artworks spanning from 1955 to 2014, including pieces by El Anatsui, Ben Enwonwu, Yusuf Grillo and Bruce Onobrakpeya.
The ArtHouse auction of November 2014 made a total sale of US$ 600’000 (including premium). 81 out of 115 lots were sold (70%).
Kavita Chellaram also acts as gallerist – she opened a pop-up space in September 2014 where she has already held exhibitions by Kainebi Osahenye and Yusuf Grillo. She plans to open a foundation in Lagos that will host artist residencies.

Interview

Bisi Silva,
curator, CCA Lagos, Nigeria

Bisi Silva is independent curator and the director and founder of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.
“The Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos (CCA, Lagos) is an independent, non-profit, art institution founded in 2007. One of the leading art organizations in Africa, it was established to provide a platform for the development, presentation and discussion of contemporary art and culture both locally and internationally. In addition to promoting media such as photography, animation, film and video, and performance art, CCA, Lagos also encourages and supports the professionalization of art and exhibition-making in Nigeria and West Africa, as well as the professional development of emerging curators, writers and researchers.
We are not a museum but more of an alternative art space with an exhibition space and a large library. Each exhibition and program features the work of different artists. Over the past seven years we have shown the works of artists including Ghariokwu Lemi, Ndidi Dike, Lucy Azubuike, Kelani Abass, Jide Alakija, Odun Orimolade and many more, most of which are featured on our website.
CCA, Lagos exhibits contemporary art from anywhere in the world. However, we do feature predominantly Nigerian artists as well as artists from across Africa and the African Diaspora. In collaborations with other institutions and curators, we have featured artists from around the world.
We have a very dynamic and innovative public program that provides a discursive platform for talks, panel discussions, roundtables involving artists, curators, art historians, writers and others. All our exhibitions involve the participation of the presented artists doing talks and sometimes workshops.
We target the widest audience possible. We want to encourage a diversity of people to engage with our programs and some of the themes that we present. Most of our audience is composed of students from the nearby University of Lagos and the Yaba College of Technology’s School of Art, as well as artists and other art enthusiasts. We don’t target schools in particular because of our limited human resources, but there are some that
CCA, Lagos is interested in going beyond being a commercial gallery providing works for sale. It is positioning itself as a critically and socially engaged institution that explores, through art and culture, some of the topics that are important in our society and the world at large.
Initially, there was some reticence to our program especially in its presentation of art forms outside the conventions of painting and sculpture. From the beginning, we have been adamant about widening the parameters of what contemporary artistic practice could be in Nigeria to include photography, video art, installation, performance art, sound art etc. These art forms are now becoming an integral aspect of the art scene.
“We have moved ahead considerably with new initiatives coming to light regularly and the pace is quickening with some individuals building the much-needed museums to professionalize and give more visibility to the field.’’
Bisi Silva
The biggest deficit that the cultural industry faces in many African countries is the lack of government interest and investment. Almost every activity happens without government input. Infrastructure and funding come from abroad – mainly Europe and America. Corporate sponsorship is negligible too. If this situation continues, then it is going to be difficult to witness real, long-term sustainable growth. We have moved ahead considerably with new initiatives coming to light regularly and the pace is quickening with some individuals building the much-needed museums to professionalize and give more visibility to the field.”

Interview

Prince Yemisi Adedoyin Shyllon,
collector, Nigeria

Bisi Silva is independent curator and the director and founder of the Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos.
“My collection includes 7,000 paintings and sculptures, covering antiques, traditional, neo-traditional, modern, and contemporary art. In 2011, we started a program to photo-document the fast-disappearing cultural festivals and other art scenes in Nigeria and West Africa. We regularly lend artworks to museums and universities throughout Nigeria and internationally. Every year since 2009, our Graduate Fellowship offers an opportunity for international scholars to spend a month in Lagos to study and research Nigerian visual art and culture (15 guest scholars to date from the US, Austria, Switzerland, and South Africa). We also sponsor touring competitions and workshops, among which the Unilag/ Oyasaf workshop organized by artist and lecturer Akin Onipede at the Department of Creative Arts, University of Lagos. This workshop aims at providing participating artists with entrepreneurial skills. For the first edition, in 2014, the workshop focused on ceramics, bead and wire works, photography, drawing and experimental art forms, with artist mentors Ato Arinze, Ojetunde Oluseyi, Ayodeji Adewunmi, Boye Ola, Ariyo Oguntimehin, Temilola Marindotin, Adedamola Runsewe and Sola Ogunfuwa.
I started collecting in 1975, when I was a student in Engineering at the University of Ibadan in Western Nigeria and I have been collecting since then. I never stopped. At the foundation, we have all sorts of art in one place, from traditional statuary to contemporary photography. Modern and contemporary art represents about 70% of my collection, the rest being traditional art. I do have works from England, Haiti, Russia, South Africa and Spain including Salvador Dalí – but nonAfrican art represents only 5% of my collection. With my foundation, I decided to display and promote Nigerian art in Nigeria. I believe that if you want to see Salvador Dalí’s work, you go to Spain. When you come to Nigeria, you should be able to see Nigerian art.
“Every year since 2009, our Graduate Fellowship offers an opportunity for international scholars to spend a month in Lagos to study and research Nigerian visual art and culture.’’ Prince Yemisi
Adedoyin Shyllon
We have lent artworks to galleries in Nigeria and museums abroad, whenever there is a need of Nigerian art (recently, an artwork by El Anatsui to the Museum for African Art in New York). In 2013, we donated 18 monumental sculptures to the Freedom Park in Lagos.
I know most of the major artists in Nigeria. Most of my contemporary sculptures are commissions. I have a sculptural garden with about 100 pieces. I stand beside the artists, I am part of the main artist organizations in Nigeria. ”

Ivory Coast

Focus

Art galleries in Abidjan

The Ivorian art galleries landscape is experiencing a rebirth following about 10 difficult years. A few galleries are leading the art scene, including Galerie Arts Pluriels, Galerie Cécile Fakhoury, La Rotonde des Arts Contemporains, Galerie Amani, and Galerie Le Basquiat (directed by artist Jacob Bleu).
Art historian Simone GuirandouN’Diaye is one of the pioneers of the Abidjan art scene. She initiated Galerie Arts Pluriels, the first art residency program of its kind, in 1985. The gallery hosts exhibitions by international artists in art, crafts, sculpture, painting and design. “My artistic activities during the past 30 years are the result of my conviction that African artists, and Ivorian artists in particular, are worthy of competing at the international level. I created Galerie Arts Pluriels to give Ivorian artists an opportunity to express their vision of the evolution of society and the world they live in. It contributes to help them to emerge and to be better known.” In 2015, Mrs Guirandou-N’Diaye will open a second gallery in Cocody Mermoz.
In 2012, Cécile Fakhoury, the stepdaughter of Ivorian-Lebanese architect Pierre Fakhoury, opened her gallery in a 600 square-meter space. She represents mostly African artists, including Aboudia from Ivory Coast and Cheikh Ndiaye from Senegal. The gallery features artworks by cutting edge international and African artists and participates in art fairs abroad.
La Rotonde des Arts Contemporains is midway between an art center and a commercial gallery, directed by art critic and curator Yacouba Konaté, and has been supported by the Nour Al Hayat Foundation since 2008 (Nour Al Hayat is a supermarket chain in Ivory Coast, owned by the Prosuma Group).
Sokari Douglas Camp, Green Leaf Barrel, 2014.
Photo : Sylvain Deleu